Preventable accidents and coincidences: a few hospital stories

If we knew where we fall, we would put down a pillow to save us.

Sometimes, the guardian angel does this for us: I mean these situations when somebody is very unlikely to make it, but they do.

Guardian angel

Painting by Murillo, public domain image

There are moments when we have done everything we could, but the disaster happens regardless of that because we are at a wrong place at a wrong time.

The sad consequences of life threatening accidents

I am a survivor of such an accident. I believe I survived due to my spiritual and mental strength, fighting power and love to life, but for the main part: due to the knowledge and devotion of the treating physician. There was 24/7 monitoring and all 9 surgeries went well.

One is never completely new after being fixed. Whatever our injuries, they leave after-effects, and they can be devastating. Chronic pain and anxiety are just one side of such post-accident experiences.

However, it is not that we cannot prevent the regular daily troubles by putting down such a pillow: preventing accidents, injuries and diseases from happening.

The unforgiving negligence

The reality is such that if there is chance for something bad to happen it most likely will. Placing hot items on the edge of any surface is lack of caution; that refers to hot coffee cups and other dishes with boiling hot liquids. Leaving harmful liquids in inappropriate containers or easy to access places is dangerous. I witnessed while practicing at hospital how a man had gotten major stomach injuries because he had been preparing pickled fish and also was having a glass of drink at the same time. He accidentally drank the highly concentrated vinegar by taking a big mouthful from the glass. Kids use to grab anything and try its taste whenever something is available for them to reach: kids have been hospitalized with laundry soap intake, vinegar and alcohol intake, not to mention after eating a lot of strong medication. In those, cases prevention would have been easy: just do not leave anything out there and within their reach.

Drunk driving and aggressive behavior of addicted spouses and friends

The major and absolutely preventable accidents are caused by driving drunk or high. Human perception changes to abnormal extent under the influence of alcohol and substances that alter brain chemicals. It’s needless to say, nobody should ever do that, but we are witnessing this again and again, and there is no end of people who put their and other peoples’ lives at risk.

I spent almost a year in a hospital. I had quite a few fellow patients, and their stories were sad. A young woman across my bed was thrown out of window from the 5th floor by her husband. It’s hard to describe the feelings she was going through when she woke up after surgical treatments. Some accidents mean: the one who was super healthy, will be partly or completely immobilized for life and having major health consequences.  However, when I had already recovered to some extent, I went to see her, and guess what? She was back with her offensive, aggressive, drinking husband, and I could see they continued the same what had been the cause of her very long hospital stay. I asked her: why didn’t you go somewhere else? Anywhere? She said she couldn’t walk and there was no place for her to go or work and so she couldn’t support herself. Well, this wasn’t any better or easier.

The fact of the matter is that the aggressive behavior when it is caused by addiction to substances rarely changes. The only hope would be in case somebody gives this up completely. However, there is always a risk of relapse with such people.

I have seen and read a lot of stories how people can recover from addiction, but that happens only when that person genuinely wants it, is ready for it and can replace the addiction with something that fills up the emptiness which occurs after they have given up their terrible habit. Art groups, social clubs, interest groups, sports and church groups are very good thing to start with.

She needed a new face: victim of drunk driving

The other woman in my hospital room didn’t have her real face any more. She was driving and got hit by another car; it was nose-to-nose crash at a high-speed, so the upper part of her car got literally taken off. Doctors restored her face as much as it was possible which meant creating a new nose and putting in place cheek bones, jaw bones and implanting new teeth. When she was that far that she could look at herself in a mirror, she was in shock. There was a scary silence for a while. It’s not me, she screamed. What do I do now, nobody will recognize me and my kids will not believe it’s me? Her kids were 4 and 6, two girls. They had kept these kids away from hospital for a while, just to get more time and to put off the unpredictable and potentially upsetting first time meeting in person. That couldn’t go on forever, so kids were taken to the hospital to meet their mom approximately 6 months after the accident. Everybody was crying: this lady, her daughters, every doctor and every patient in the room. At that moment, girls did not recognize their mom, they couldn’t believe and accept that was her because that was virtually a completely different woman in the hospital bed, not the one who was residing in their memories. It took many meetings and long time until everybody found peace of mind and re-established their relationship. This tragedy was caused by a drunk driver.

drunk driving victims

Public domain image

Physical and mental abuse: things that cannot be straightened out

People also usually do not take into account that racial, national and cultural diversities can be a problem exaggerating and issue causing aspect. Although, we are all humans, our background is very distinctive. Things that are very acceptable and very appropriate in some country, community or family, can become a subject of never-ending arguments, and eventually cause the relationship to go toxic.

As we were diagnosing patients in the urgent surgical care department at a hospital, the professor who was taking us around warned before we entered an intensive care unit: “This lady didn’t listen to her parents who told her not to engage with this particular man who is in custody at the moment. Dear girls, do not marry people who have completely distinctive background!”

The sight was extremely shocking: there was practically no face or something one could recognize as a human face, hence, it was some kind of extremely swollen dark blue, black and purple-read smashed raw meat. Eyes were not visible; they were somewhere deep under the swelling. The person could not speak, swallow anything, and not even water because of broken jaw bones. The professor lifted sheets and, as far as it was visible, the body was in exactly the same condition: bruises, hematoma at many spots, swollen limbs and torn wounds, huge five-finger imprints in bright dark purple color around the neck told that she was also been choked. Stabbed with sharp, but luckily not too wide kitchen knife which occurred to be of a flexible metal and that practically had saved her from more serious internal injuries. Her recovery took about 18 months and included fraction cure, sutures, treatment of neuroses, anxiety, abnormal physical pain and series of restorative surgery. They were successful with fixing her, and this was a case which had a happy end. Not all do.

Her husband came from a Russian family with a long history of alcohol abuse, imprisonment, family fights, strange concepts about marriage and trust, and he used to interpret the reality in a way that was severely distorted by prison moral. He was pathologically jealous, and every episode of alcohol use in excess caused him to become extremely aggressive. The closest target was always his new wife who was a young student, just relocated to start studies at the university. How do such people meet? Easy. At a bar, at a concert, and these aggressive manipulators can pretend being the nicest people on the globe when they want or have to.

Cutting off a toxic relationship

We should listen to people who care about us and warn us. We should take into account the harsh reality and advice that comes from people who have gone through hell. Do we? I did not listen to my parents and suffered for 19 years. Why? Who knows, I believed I could fix and straighten out anything. My daughter initially did not listen to me and my parents. These toxic relationships are lost time, it is time we have stolen from ourselves. Thankfully, my daughter and I found great, rewarding relationships after years of struggles. These valuable relationships contribute daily to our well-being and personal growth.

We have to learn cutting off a toxic relationship straight where it starts, not allowing to evolve into something more serious and destroying. I don’t mean only spouses and closest relatives. We have to avoid and, if necessary, immediately walk away from toxic relationship that hurts, abuses and exploits. That is the best prevention from any more serious mental and physical suffering. It is not worth it. There are so many nice people out there, and it makes sense to keep reaching out for them.

21 thoughts on “Preventable accidents and coincidences: a few hospital stories

  1. Pingback: How drawing and painting teaches us life and boosts mental fitness | inesepogagallery

    1. Inese Poga Art plus Life

      Well, that’s what I was the witness of while I studied at University and we had practice at hospitals and also during the long year I spent at hospital during my own recovery.
      I have most often seen how heavy drinking is often associated with aggression and dumb mistakes. It’s lucky for you, he wasn’t trying to abuse you.
      Bad stuff happens, and people who are not involved with medical care and research rarely understand how many sick and suffering people are there. I mean, lots of this suffering could be prevented.


  2. Inese, I did not get any email notification of this post, but that seems to be happening a lot lately. Any, aside from that, your post speaks to some real societal problems that need funding, research and outreach.


    1. Inese Poga Art plus Life

      Thanks Lavinia! There are some notification glitches.
      Well, there are still a lot of things which depend on us, especially who to choose to live with, where to spend the leisure time, how to live with past injuries, that’s all we have to manage on our own because nobody can actually decide these things for us.
      Especially, it is bad that people know so well how dangerous it is to drive high or drunk, but they do. They just do and disregard all the warnings and fines and bad examples. I simply wanted to share what most people never see because hospitals aren’t places where we go for a walk. It is difficult reality, and it seems we want to pretend it does not exist.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So many sad stories .. Makes you realise just how lucky you are in life to escape such tragedies.. And yes so many victims of abuse in a relationship continue along that same route not breaking the cycle.. And become victims again and again..

    So sad about the woman and her new face and children..

    I hope Inese you are healing well? .. I did not get your updates.. seems that problem is happening more often as I read above the other comment..

    Love to you and I so thank you for your own recent visit.. 🙂 Love to you
    Sue ❤


    1. Inese Poga Art plus Life

      Thanks Sue! It certainly is very fortunate when somebody can avoid accidents by preventing them from happening. I know how we talk and we try to teach and make aware our kids know that, but somehow along the way there is always somebody who just does not believe anything could happen. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any drunk drivers, but there are, and they cause new and new tragedies because behind each case there is life in ruins. It takes so much time to return to normal living if possible at all.
      I’m still on antibiotics. I don’t have a family doctor, therefore I haven’t done any tests I should. Walk-in clinic said they cannot give requisition, etc. The health care in Canada is totally fallen apart, it is out-of-date, and there are way too few doctors and nurses, hospital beds, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww sounds not a good health system.. Ours as you may have heard is well overstretched and over budget costs.. But I am ever thankful we have it compared to horror stories from other countries about their systems.. ..


      2. Inese Poga Art plus Life

        Exactly. They claim they are spending so much money on the health care, but it seems that money disappears somewhere. Where are all good doctors? Probably in the States. I have had total idiots here and there as GPs, like totally unacceptable level of expertise, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We had a friend who was a Dr.. He has since passed away. His son went to Australia to make a life as a Dr out there.. He said the pay and conditions were much better out there than here in the UK.. I feel many more will exit from the UK.. As Drs are continually under pressure with Long LONG working hours… xx


      4. Inese Poga Art plus Life

        I believe the same is here: all highly qualified specialists prefer to go to the States because they get paid more and most likely they can also do more. I don’t know the real reason in Canada, but it is terrible to kick out a patient onto street after a five-hour surgery basing this on lack of hospital beds. Big issue here, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes.. I can only think it will get worse as the population grows and the resources diminish.. Too many problems here are caused by the closing down of the small community hospitals, and nursing homes.. These housed many beds for the infirm and elderly which now take up the large hospitals bed quota’s .. Bad planning, to save money on one hand to cause a problem on the other.. But we are only people who see common sense solutions.. We do not get paid the high wages of these bureaucrats who get paid to think up crazy ideas..


      6. Inese Poga Art plus Life

        I know. Health ministers take it easy: I would think they have no issues with having a decent care or finding a decent doctor.
        It is insane how nobody wants to admit that population ages, we also have childhood disorders spiking up, birth defects and mental disorders on the rise. It is a real health care crisis in so many places around the globe. It must be in somebody’s best interest not to address it properly, but to turn our attention to political issues, etc. That is certainly the case in Canada.
        You will see on the Health Canada website how they endorse GMO products because they insist they cause no harm regardless of the fact that bees are dying out, probably some birds cannot take it either, but the research is silenced in this regard.
        We are in serious trouble, and we have to spread out the word; but look how few people even read this post! Nothing else matters when the health is destroyed, not even wealth, not adventures, nothing. I do want to make more people aware about what they are doing to themselves by often just disregarding some very serious alarms.


      7. Inese Poga Art plus Life

        And it doesn’t seem it’s possible to change that. I’m seeing the only way in educating everybody and growing our own food. That is if there is a clean soil and place for growing anything. I think dandelions should be kept in private spaces, as well, because they provide bees with clean nutrients.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Art lessons teach us life lessons and boost brain flexibility

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